Monday, August 27, 2007

Michael Vick

I haven't been keeping up "officially" with the Michael Vick case beyond updates I see on the news/internet or flipping by ESPN. I do not know all the details. My opinion is torn; I've talked to some guys around here and they are angry about the case for a number of reasons:
1) They believe what's happening to Vick is sparked, in no small part, by racism.
2) They see the situation as proof that "white people care more about their damn dogs than they do other people." Relatedly, I also hear, "They don't care about us when our asses are getting banged up playing football and boxing in front of them."
3) They can't believe Vick is on the verge of going to jail for something they see as a non-serious offense.
4) They believe the men who led the police to Vick are snitches who should've protected the one who "made it out."

On the other hand, as a rural southerner, I have seen the effects of dogfighting--the dogs who are scarred, with ribs showing, who are simultaneously deathly afraid and menacing. I hate it, hate it, hate it. We were raised to love dogs, to take in strays, to treat them with respect. After seeing one man's dogs in my hometown, I was so sickened, I contemplated calling the police. In the end, I didn't--not because I was particularly worried about being labeled a snitch, but because I was afraid he'd go to jail, lose his job, and that would plummet his wife and son into a bad situation.

When he and some other people I know were finally caught, they were at a dogfight at which they were tossing animals that were killed or badly injured into a pit and moving on to the next fight. Vivian (formerly know as best friend Louisiana), was particularly sickened by the fact that the dog owners were having a barbecue at the same time. I remember her saying something to the effect of, "Girl, they were grilling meat while dogs were being thrown around and dying right next to them." The guys that I knew received a slap on the wrist.

So yeah, dogfighting is one of those things for which I have little toleration. While it may be part of some rural (not necessarily black as I've heard some people say) cultures, I don't think it's defensible. No one should get away with such cruel, horrific behavior. The adjectives I hear bandied about--abhorrent, reprehensible, disgusting are all, in my opinion, valid.

But the last I heard, Vick might face state charges as well as federal. I don't know about that.

And I am more than a little disturbed that people can at once dismiss racism while watching white women (as I've seen on news coverage) hold up signs that say "Neuter Michael Vick." (You should read Kym Platt here on this.) Apparently, there are whole t-shirt/bumper sticker/mug enterprises devoted to this slogan--a fact that I find abhorrent, reprehensible, and disgusting as well.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Sorta-Resolved Dilemma

I know I haven't posted in a while. I was getting ready to end my summer break, pack up the kids and head back to Texas...

Then out of the blue, I got an offer for a one-year position in Louisiana. I felt like Jacob must have when he wrestled with the angel. Do I take the kids out of a school I love? What about my sister, who went back largely because of me? And my ex-professor for whom I was supposed to adjunct this school year, how do I give him such late notice? Oh, and the fact that we just moved to the new apartment in February? Did I have time or the desire to pack up all my old stuff? Am I ready for one year of rural life?

But... the salary at the new place would be more than double my adjunct pay. I also get one class for which I get to pick the topic and design the class. The kids would be closer to family. And this year was to be a transition anyway while I looked for permanent employment, so why was I so determined to stay where my pay would be lower, the cost of living was higher, etc.

So, I took the new job (I literally had, like, two days to accept). My sister, who's a certified teacher, found a job back here in a day or so, of course. My stomach was knotted for a while, but I was in the process of making peace with the idea. As I told some friends, moving is a big deal for me. In my whole life, my parents have moved once, and I was 31 when that happened. Basically, I had the same house, same school, same neighbors, forever. So the idea of putting the kids in a new school is what bothers me the most--that and my lazy ass doesn't want to pack up the apartment. :-)

Then, yesterday, a community college back in Texas called to talk to me about a one-year position beginning in September. Why didn't they call a week earlier??? What if I'm f*cking up royally? Lord, somebody reassure me!

But for now, I am once again a Louisianan--though, readers of this blog know that, in my heart, I always have been. Still, at least one person is upset.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Black and Missing but not Forgotten

From Deidra:
This blog is dedicated to all the missing black women in America. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr once said "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." If the media doesn't step up - who will? Let these ladies know that we did not forget about them.

You should really, really check out this blog.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Weather Lament

It's just too damned hot. I mean the kind of heat that pisses me off, that makes my body (and my hair :-) feel limp and damp and ready to renounce my (southern) residency. Almost everyone I know has air conditioners that can't cool the houses below the upper 70s--my dad had someone come out and look at ours. The poor AC is fine, just not fit for battle with successive 100 degree+ days.

And then there are the kids, who worry you from the morning onward, asking to go outside. No matter how many times you say, "You will fry," they simply wait three minutes and ask again. We can't keep any kind of drinks because they're going through them so quickly.

My friend Kendra and I are often told we are headed for hell because of the things we say/observations we make. The other night (as in after 6:30), as she was alternately wiping sweat and fanning with a bedraggled paper towel, she told me, "elle, we gotta get our shit together and get right. We're not going to be able to stand this forever."

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Watch My Shoes!

Do What Ya Do
But Watch My Shoes
Dance Wit Ya Boo
But Watch My Shoes
You Could Get Loose
But Watch My Shoes
Cause You'll Get Blues
You Don't Watch My Shoes
-Trill Fam

These children--and adults--around here are getting on my nerves singing this song. I suppose the chorus does sort of stick in your head, though.

Anyway, as school begins, it's time to start thinking about school shoes and such. My son is horrible on shoes, no matter the brand. I keep hoping he'll morph into one of those guys who identify with the lyrics above--the kind who wipe their shoes down every six steps or so, curse if you even think of accidentally brushing against them, and only wear each pair twice before putting them back in their box, storing them with mothballs, and relegating them to an airless facility or such.

I'm reminded of a pseudo-argument I had with the kid's father, R, this past spring.

R: I'ma get him some more shoes.

elle: Good, because he destroys them.

R: I'ma get him some white ones.

elle: Hell to the n-o!! Why do I have to keep telling you, dark colored ones?

R: I'm tired of that. Every guy needs a pair of white shoes (R is one of the type of guys profiled in the paragraph I wrote above).

elle: R, don't do that! I'm telling you, they. will. not. last.

R: He's old enough. I'm telling you.

At this point, said discussion devolves into his quite usual, "elle, you are so bossy; how you gon' tell me how to spend my money and what to buy for my kid?" mantra to which I half-heartedly listen then say, "Okay, whatever."

White shoes, six days afterthe first time my son wore them.

I am not kidding. He moonwalked on them during Friday night live (hence the separated tips) He played football in them at school. He apparently splashed in every puddle he saw.

I sent this camera phone picture to his father, I wasn't smug, though... not overly so. I get tired of him dogging his damned shoes, too.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


Usually, when I can't blog, it's because I'm all morose or swamped with less than pleasant work.

Well, I'm blocked, but I think it's largely because I'm "good" busy.

I'm alive, though.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Girls Night Out

Or in, actually. I traded my son and nephew off for a night with my two goddaughters, Belle (5) and Lani (1).

We spent the evening at a softball game at which Belle and I tried to fit into one spectator chair along with her purse, numerous sport drinks, bottled water, a couple of snowcones, nachos, bug spray, my cell phone and keys. Lani got passed from lap to lap and each person that held her felt obligated to give her a taste of one thing or another.

Afterwards, we went to Trinity's house for a little while. Belle proceeded to beat my ass at deuces wild (she's been playing since she was four... at least). She scolded me about my lack of finesse at the game ("You shoulda held that deuce!" "It's your turn to deal!" "You forgot to turn one over!"). I am still amazed by the fact that she can really play. Really.

I also gave Lani a wash up because she was so sticky and gritty. Only, bathing babies and changing diapers has always been a challenge for me. Especially bathing them while trying to hold them in my lap--because of my breasts, I have little lap to speak of, and I know babies must always feel they are on the verge of cliff, about to plunge to the floor below. To make things more interesting, she'd messed up her diaper for real and I had no baby wipes. So, I sent to the bathroom for tissue and dug one of those "feminine" fresh wipes out of my purse.

Well, the fresh wipe didn't go far and the tissue just stuck. Plus, she finally did plunge off my lap and took off towards the back of the house where the other kids were. Her sister had to catch her for me and hold her with her bottom in the air while I cleaned it. I finally got her bathed.

But then came the new diaper. I got it on well enough to not fall all the way off. Rather, it sagged quite unattractively with the implied threat of a butt-crack flash at any moment.

Of course, the moment she was clean, she threw up all the mess people had been giving her. Luckily, it was all over Trinity :-p.

They slept through the night (I was worried about Lani). But this morning brought new challenges.

Desecrated ponytails. And I cannot comb little girls' hair. There are numerous missing barettes, a couple of broken ponytail holders, no comb fit for their hair and one disgruntled godmother.

And now, since I need to re-initiate the bath debacle and since Ms. Lani has decided there's never been a more interesting pasttime than banging my keyboard (and pulling down the clothes that I just ironed!!!), I must bid you all farewell.

And ask you to bid me good luck.
Revelations and ruminations from one southern sistorian...